The Book of 2 Kings 5 tells the story of a nameless slave girl who changed the course of events in Israel and Syria in a substantial manner. This girl had been carried off after a raid by the Syrian army under the command of an Armean General called Naaman. She worked for Naaman’s wife.
Now to be a slave/servant was low, to be female was even lower and to be a girl was the lowliest in any society at the time. In most slave/servant owning societies, a slave had no voice. They were considered less than human and close to or worse than choice animals. Their living quarters may have been similar to a barn or cowshed; their food was probably leftovers such as hooves and intestines. It can therefore be assumed that the slave girl in 2 Kings 5 may not have had the privilege of living in comfortable circumstances.
Naaman on the other hand, is reported to have been a great man; a general, highly favoured by his King and given victory by the Lord. However, he too was a slave to leprosy. It was in Naaman’s household that this insignificant slave girl brought a message that would restore this enslaved man of privilege; wealth and influence.
In order to change the course of events – that is - to save Naaman (the slave to leprosy), a fellow slave must take courage to speak up - and so many people must be willing to listen and act on the slave girl’s words : The slave girl talks to her mistress about Prophet Elisha, the mistress talks to Naaman her husband, and Naaman talks to the King of Syria, who in turn writes to the King of Israel to heal Naaman. That is only half the story -
We then read about Naaman standing at the River Jordan angered and questioning why he must dip into the Jordan river seven times - are there not better, cleaner rivers in Syria -he asks....
It takes another servant/slave to encourage him to proceed. And although no sign was there after dipping six times in the Jordan, Naaman is freed from his slavery to leprosy at the end of the seventh dip –
This story brings to light the role of positioning and influence. These are key definitions in understanding leadership –
1) That the slaves played a very crucial role – ahead of the mistress, Naaman and Kings ;
2) That the slave girl must have distinguished herself so much that her mistress took her word as truth and acted on it. She must also have made an impression on Naaman for him to embark on so controversial a journey as this. Naaman had to eat the humble pie of going back to the very people he had conquered so that he is rescued from his poverty to leprosy –
3) That leader and follower can change from one moment to the next
4) That we must be ready where ever we are with answers to solve problems no matter our positioning
I would like to believe that when Naaman came home, the slave girl was freed or elevated in position (similar to the story of Joseph) and or probably given land and wealth because she had been freed from his own slavery.
# The Leadership Conversation
Often times, the word #Leadership tends to evoke pictures of politicians screaming into microphones at rallies or bosses talking-down to employees. It is rare that we consider that each one of us is a leader in our own sphere of influence. This sphere might be at home, church, the workplace or even the playground.
Leadership, we believe, is everywhere. It is about being willing, available and committed to making an intervention - however insignificant. This intervention might be in simply volunteering to commence a conversation with a stranger, offering your seat for another person, seeking to reconcile warring parties or looking to provide solutions to an existing challenge.
This means that one need not be in a ''position of leadership'' in order to be a leader rather, leading is about using one's ''hands'' to the best of one's ability. This means that whether one is a slave (Joseph), Wife (Abigail), blind (Bartimaeus), young (Samuel) sinful (David) disadvantaged (lepers Vs. (Aramean army), etc. it is possible to make a positive difference in spite of one's position. Leadership is therefore not only about winning elections, pastoring a mega-church or leading Fortune 500 companies. It is about making a difference in the lives of the people closest to you before moving on to the greater public -
It is therefore hoped that #The Leadership Conversation will become a regular forum where we can meet and exchange ideas on how best to 'lead' in the positions we currently occupy rather than those we seek or hope to occupy.
#The Leadership Conversation will - among other things - seek to find practical ways in which we can lead or support those who lead us. We hope to look out for ideas of how to transcend boundaries of tribe, religion, sex, disability or inability to support those who are leading us or those who are being led.
It is our hope that we can have an open discussion in these sessions where answers shall be provided by the participants based on their various experiences. Participants shall then be encouraged to apply these new 'tactics' to their spheres of influence.
We look forward to seeing to and may the Lord Bless you
Daniel R. Ruhweza
#THE LEADERSHIP CONVERSATION
Saturday April 19th 2014 Worship Harvest Church, Naalya 3:00pm - 6.30pm